Charlie Rose Celebrates 25 Years of Conversations Around a Simple Wooden Table

By Mark Joyella 

25 years ago today, at New York PBS station WNET, Charlie Rose began sitting down in a largely black studio and talking to guests seated at a round wooden table—a set, he said recently, born of “poverty.”

In a story this week on CBS This Morning, Rose says the iconic set of The Charlie Rose Show was essentially self-funded, with Rose buying the table for $4,000 after seeing a similar table in the office of Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner.

“I knew if I could put a table in a room, with not much light, and a couple of chairs, I could have a real conversation. And I know that all of you like to eavesdrop on a conversation.”

Over a quarter century, the local PBS show has become a fixture on more than 200 PBS stations nationwide, and on the Bloomberg Television network. And that table has seen some of television’s most interesting conversations. U2 frontman Bono called Rose “a jazz man conversationalist … you’re pretty musical the way you move around the table with words.”

Asked what the value of that $4,000 table might be today, an appraiser from Christie’s said it would be difficult to put a fair price on it. “The years of history, the number of people who have sat here … this is a treasure, and it should end up in the Smithsonian.”